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Abuse in Churches

May 4, 2009

I read a really good article today on how to teach leaders in churches to avoid abusiveness in congregational relationships. Margaret Jones did a guest interview at the blog of futurist guy. He asked some really good questions and I really liked Dr. Jones’ answers.

Dealing with abuse in congregations is not easy. Dealing with abuse that comes from the leaders is even tougher. It is really important to put things in place  to help prevent it from happening in the first place. Leaders need to be taught how to avoid being abusive and how to recognize those tendencies in themselves and others.

Dr. Jones makes a really good point that we are all at some point in time a victim, a bully and a bystander. I don’t know if that is true for everyone…but I would think that the huge majority of us, if we were able to be totally honest, could say that we fit all three categories at one time or another. That can be a very hard thing to face.

I hope that all groups, regardless of what kind they are, will take a look at what they are doing…both as a group and as individuals within a group. This world does not need abuse. It is tough enough to live. Life comes with enough challenges without having to deal with abuse on top of everything else.

In spite of all the healing I have gone through, I am still left broken. I still have to struggle with some things. I hate that. I don’t wish it on anyone…not even on my worst enemy. I have never wished ill on others. I have been angry and wished they could understand what they were putting me through…but I have never wished them to have to suffer, too. At least, not in so far as my amnesic mind remembers. My heart is just not wired that way…perhaps because of all that I went through…I don’t know. It is not that I have never hurt anyone…or acted in hurtful ways. I have…out of anger and frustration. But hurting someone just to hurt them…I don’t remember ever doing that.

I wish I had not been abused. I wish that my parents could have modeled for me what it meant to be a good parent so that I could have been a better mom to my own children. I am grateful that I gave them better than I got…still, I wish it could have been more. I wish I could have done better. That is where I have to trust that Yahweh’s perfect love covers a multitude of sins…including my own failings toward my children.

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